New teacher q & a

What are the rules and procedures for observations and evaluations?

How many? When? With or without notice?

New Teachers Ask

There are quite a few so this reply can only be an introduction to the subject.

Observations and evaluations fall under the general category of performance review, which is cited in Article 8J of the UFT contract. Performance reviews are intended to help teachers accomplish their educational goals with their students.

The UFT and the DOE agreed on a plan for teacher evaluation that is incorporated in the contract and is spelled out in the document “Teaching for the 21st Century.”

Under this plan, tenured teachers, in consultation with their supervisors, may choose either the “performance option” or the traditional classroom observation as the basis for their performance review.

New and probationary teachers in elementary and middle schools must have at least two formal classroom observations per year; those in the high schools must have at least four formal classroom observations a year. For all new and probationary teachers, at least one of these classroom observations must be conducted by the principal.

If you think you are being excessively observed, keep a log of the visits and speak to your chapter leader.

A formal observation is one that includes pre- and post-observation conferences and written feedback and/or comments. A supervisor has the right to enter a teacher’s class unannounced. However, such visits generally are not written up.

Pre-conferences are required for all formal teacher observations. They may be: 1. one-to-one conferences between the supervisor and teacher; 2. small group meetings; or 3. a written notification outlining a menu of possible instructional areas to be evaluated during the formal observation, with teacher input on the area(s) to be addressed.

One-to-one conferences are required for U-rated teachers, but any teacher may request one. A written request for a one-to-one conference must be granted.

Following the observation, you should write down your recollections of the lesson, which may help you in the post-observation conference with your supervisor.
You will receive a written report of the observation after the post-observation conference and will be asked to sign it to indicate that you have seen it, whether or not you agree with it. If you believe the observation is inaccurate or unfair, you should speak to your chapter leader, who can help you formulate a written response and advise you of the other options open to you. Your response must be attached to the original report and placed with the original in your file.

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